NEWPORT BEACH – It has been raised more than 70 times in the last 50 years, mostly without commotion. It must be raised again this summer if the United States government is to continue paying its bills on time. But now America’s debt ceiling has become the subject of intense political posturing and touch-and-go negotiations behind closed doors. And, obviously, the outcome has implications that go well beyond the US.
OXFORD – Can moral judgments be true or false? Or is ethics, at bottom, a purely subjective matter, for individuals to choose, or perhaps relative to the culture of the society in which one lives? We might have just found out the answer.
BERKELEY – The dollar has had its ups and downs, but the downs have clearly dominated of late. The greenback has lost more than a quarter of its value against other currencies, adjusted for inflation, over the last decade. It is down by nearly 5% since the beginning of 2011, matching the lowest level plumbed since the Bretton Woods System of pegged exchange rates collapsed in 1973.
CHICAGO – Economic growth in the United States seems to be slowing again. This might reflect temporary factors, like the Japanese tsunami, which disrupted supply chains and caused some factories to suspend operations. Also, high oil prices have taken a toll on disposable income, impeding growth in consumption demand. This has led to a build-up of inventory – and thus to cuts in production.
BRUSSELS – Greece’s ballooning public debt is again throwing Europe’s financial markets into turmoil. But why should a debt default by the government of a small, peripheral economy – one which accounts for less than 3% of eurozone GDP – be so significant?
CAMBRIDGE – Europe is in constitutional crisis. No one seems to have the power to impose a sensible resolution of its peripheral countries’ debt crisis. Instead of restructuring the manifestly unsustainable debt burdens of Portugal, Ireland, and Greece (the PIGs), politicians and policymakers are pushing for ever-larger bailout packages with ever-less realistic austerity conditions. Unfortunately, they are not just “kicking the can down the road,” but pushing a snowball down a mountain.
BEIJING – Is China poised to surpass the United States to become the world’s largest economy? The International Monetary Fund recently predicted that the size of China ’s economy would overtake that of the US in terms of purchasing power parity (PPP) by 2016.
NEW YORK – Ratko Mladić is an easy man to hate. In his prime, he not only talked and behaved like a thug, but he also looked like one – the kind of bull-necked, pale-eyed, snarling psychopath who would gladly pull out your fingernails just for fun. Apart from many other cruelties, the Butcher of Bosnia was responsible, in the summer of 1995, for the killing of around 8,000 unarmed Bosnian Muslim men and boys in the woods around Srebrenica.
As we yank toward the crucial phase of sustaining genuine peace and security, solidification of multi-party democracy, good governance and the rule of law; Liberia is likely to witness the emergence and reemergence of opinionated pundits hailing from different political persuasions, aiming to provide the citizenry with the solutions through literature. I’m constraint at this point to proffer these few words that is concentrated on unearthing fallacies and heresies made by one of these jaundiced critic Mr. Lewis G. Brown at the official launching of the National Democratic Coalition also known as the “Lion and Deer Union” on May 21, 2011, strewn and often replete with redundancies.
ABUJA – Nigerians like political theater, particularly if it is loud, colorful, and has a rich cast of “good” and “bad” characters. Such melodrama abounded from November 2009, when ailing President Umaru Yar’Adua was flown out of the country for treatment, until the just-concluded general elections, Nigeria ’s fourth since military rule ended in 1999. According to the official results, Goodluck Jonathan, who succeeded Yar’Adua upon his death and became the ruling People’s Democratic Party (PDP) candidate, was sworn in as President on May 29.